When Cathy Spoel recalls her best days as a U of T law student, she doesn’t reminisce about Falconer Hall. She thinks of Varsity Arena and Back Campus field, where she often competed in intramural sports. “The law school women fielded a lot of teams,” says Spoel (LLB 1981). “We had two ice hockey teams, field hockey, soccer, basketball, volleyball, squash, water polo. And I played on almost all of them!”
Since then, Spoel has given up team sports for the solitary but equally demanding triathlon. And she has turned her fondness for U of T athletics into a $250,000 gift to support coaching in the track and field program.
Spoel, a longtime fan of the U of T track program, has contributed much more than dollars to U of T athletics over the years, says track and field head coach Carl Georgevski. He describes Spoel as “an amazing resource” and communicates with her regularly about the future of the program, which includes both a varsity team and training for high school athletes.“I think there’s a real lack of access to good sport activities for kids in downtown Toronto,” says Spoel. “Anything that can be done to bolster participation in a sport like track and field is terrific.”
With track athletes now practising on the state-of-the-art John L. Davenport Track at Varsity Centre, the timing of Spoel’s gift couldn’t be better.“Now we have great facilities and stability for our coaching,” says Georgevski, whose sights are set on sending athletes to the Olympics. His program already boasts five nationally carded athletes – rising stars who have gained significant government support to pursue their Olympic goals. “We’re looking really good for 2012 and 2016.”